John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Coordinating ecological risk assessment with natural resource damage assessment: A panel discussion

Contaminated sites in the U.S. undergo remediation and restoration through regulatory programs that lead the two processes through independent but often parallel pathways with different objectives. The objective of remediation is to reduce risk to human health and the environment, whereas that of restoration is to restore injured resources and compensate the public for lost use of the services that natural resources provide. More complex sites, such as those associated with large river systems and urban waterways, have resulted in increasingly larger‐scale ecological risk assessments (ERAs) and natural resource damage assessment (NRDAs) that take many years and involve diverse practitioners including scientists, economists, and engineers. Substantial levels of effort are now frequently required, creating a need for more efficient and cost‐effective approaches to data collection, analyses, and assessments. Because there are commonalities in the data needs between ERAs and NRDAs, coordination of the design and implementation of site‐specific studies that meet the needs of both programs could result in increased efficiency and lower costs. The Association for Environmental Health and Sciences Foundation convened a panel of environmental practitioners from industry, consulting, and regulatory bodies to examine the benefits and challenges associated with coordinating ERA and NRDA activities in the context of a broad range of regulatory programs. This brief communication presents the opinions and conclusions of the panelists on these issues and reports two case studies for which coordinated ERA and NRDA activities produced a positive outcome. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

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